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Oldschool Evolutions

messenoire

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Pretty much every year I come back to this game, hoping to spend nights hopping onto different dumb 8.1 Evo servers, but after the XML holocaust around update 8.2 making a dumb Evo server is ride or die mfer, either invest tons of time into customizing TFS or wade through rotten links to find the shitty buggy Evolutions and get fucked because it's really broken (and also you get yelled at on the forums :( ). No wonder there's no servers like this anymore, after "The Great Cancellation of XML as a Storage Backend in OpenTibia in 2010s" there's been some really cool stuff and of course the endless 8.6 Evolutions, but... idk, 8.1 just hits different.
Some things were broken in the right way, had old or wrong implementations, which contributed to the feeling and made people creative and these servers around the 8.0 - 8.1 era were kind of unique with different gameplay than real maps or later servers. I think the map, ideas, all the Evo/custom quirks and features is something I miss the most about this game and I haven't really gotten my fix since like 2012. Also I've heard people just wanting to make a small fun server and then being completely overwhelmed because so many things have to be changed, a website has to be set up, etc. but so much stuff disappeared from the internet (anyone has sources for Aries distro? lol) that it's hard to find everything you need.

So I'm making an oldschool Evolutions XML distribution for lulz, playing with friends or prototyping. I want to bring that back and see what people come up with today. It's not supposed to be super optimized and stable, but easy to work on and customize, ready to just click that goddamn .exe and hi buy manarune sd gogogo tp dragon f5 f1 f5 f5 f1 and much faster than you can type "mysql -u root -p CREATE DATABASE forgottenserver;". Like that WAKE UP BRO ITS 2008 meme but with less buffer overflows and duplication glitches so some idiot saying "auto 100 say <string over 255 characters>" won't crash your client.
I want to ship the compiler and all tools and editors directly with it so they don't have to be hunted down on goddamn chomikuj.pl. At first only Windows support so y'all can start messing around on your PCs then if I have the time I'll make something that can be easily hosted on a Linux VM.
I have tons of old Evo-related sources, maps and data packs etc. that I want also to include.

But I do not know on which client version I should base all of this. Update 8.1 brought the new element system, but it wasn't properly implemented, so I could make that even more fun and go with version 8.2 for that sweet shop system, NPC channel and more equipment, but I've found sprites after Yalahar break the feeling of these servers. Or is there a good argument for going for more recent versions?
I thought it would be cool to have 8.2 but also add retro spell animations on top of the new ones, make formulas easier to edit, features from updates easier to enable/disable, then everyone could just edit some values to make game work like 7.6, 8.0 or just mix and match to taste.
I have also thought about writing down a standard/specification for this kind of servers, so everyone knows the formula. Eventually I want to have a "framework" for this, not literally software framework but a worked out ruleset for... the fuck do I call that? The Evolutions-based fun-oriented less grindy superset of late 2000s Tibia gameplay? Essentially the game that I often want to play but doesn't really exist anymore.

What do you think? What can I release that would enable you to quickly and easily make a fun playable kinda-oldschool server?
 
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